More of cataloging than a remembrance: All of the interests and hobbies which have directed my life, the ones that are a part of who I am not just what I do, are things that can be traced back to Mike. What music would I love if he had not come home with a Five Iron Frenzy T-Shirt?  What would my hobbies be if he had not started rolling d20s with me on a road trip?

Who would I be if Mike had not joined a rowing team?  That choice has defined my entire life.

This feels like being on a swing and realizing the person who gave you the first push is just…....gone.

Our sincere condolences to the Ludders Family.  We remember Mike (and his parents) fondly.  Our boys were all on the St. Joe’s Crew team together. You are all in our thoughts and prayers at this very sad time. Sincerely, Terry and Paul Burke

Steve & Dawn, so very sorry & sad to see your son's obituary today. You are in our prayers at these difficult time!


When I think about Mike, what comes to mind is fun and joy!  Mike always brought a laugh into the room, and made everyone feel warm and cared for.  His presence brightened the space he was in.

I remember how we all called Mike "Husky" because he was such an exuberant, playful puppy of a man.

We were friends in college, but we reconnected in a big way online just a few years ago when we discovered that we had almost identical taste in movies. I remember a night last summer when my notifications started blowing up like nobody's business; it was because I'd tweeted about how Godzilla: King of Monsters had blown my mind, and Mike saw it and had a similar reaction, and he had to talk about it RIGHT NOW to someone else who felt the same way.

I don't know if he ever saw Godzilla vs. Kong. Or what he thought about it. I wish we could have geek's out one last time.

Rest in peace, Mike. I'll think of you every time I watch a Mike Flanagan movie, and I know that's just how you'd want it.

What single thing to say about someone whose friendship has so defined your life for 20 years? There are simply too many memories, so I will recount how we met, and how it changed my life. When I got to Kenyon, I was a long way from home, yet full of excitement at the promise and possibility of a new beginning. However, by the end of the first semester, things were not going well for me, neither academically nor socially. I could not even get along with my roommate! Depressed, I spent more and more time with the few friends I had made in the third-floor triple dorm down McBride Hall. It was there that I met Mike over a game of chess and a cup of coffee. All around me swirled one of those uniquely college conversations, between Nick Kwiek, Adam Jacksonbey and Mike. At some point Mike quipped something uniquely Mike--at once as clever as it was insightful as it was deep as it was meaningful--as it was uproariously funny! For the first time in many months, I laughed until I could barely breathe. I knew I had found a life-long friend. Through my friendship with Mike, college and life turned around to become what I always hoped it would be. It seemed if I were ever feeling down, walking through campus, he would (often literally) pick me up, toss me over his shoulder and drop me into something new and fun. Through him, I found purpose, direction, friends, and activities. He had such an ability to bring people together and bind them as friends. Wherever he was, however long he had been there, it was as if he'd always been there, and they had always known him. Through him, I met so many amazing people--especially my wife Sara (a Mike-filled story of its own!), had so many adventures, and was left with so many fond memories. No matter the ups or downs of our lives, I always knew that Mike was just walk, a drive, a call, and email, or a video game chat away. Whatever followed, would be at once funny, profound, and meaningful. Mike's passing leaves a unique, and appropriately Mike-sized hole my soul, and I will miss him terribly.

We became friends our senior year in high school. Theatrics and silliness abound wherever he went... 

Highlights include but are not limited to: a random show I got swept into at St. Joe’s, piling groups of people into minivans to go on random adventures, firecrackers strapped to toys on his parents’ driveway, amateur poetry readings, running from the village to the Penn Station to catch the LIRR on New Years, polar bear plunges into the ocean, that one Buffalo Sabres and Rangers game, watching the NYC marathon, Kinsale (an Irish pub on the Upper East Side that he turned into a Sabres bar), experimenting with the physics of the subway, Halloween shenanigans... (he made a very convincing priest and Bill Clinton), and adventures in Seattle... like that one time in Wallace Falls, he wanted to jump to a rock in the middle of the river that was mere feet away from a descent sized waterfall and I felt certain he wasn't going to make it back safely... but he did it! (Superhero skills! 10,000 points.) He told fantastic, epic stories and gave points to things that amused him.

When I moved to the NYC, he showed me the places where so many great writers and thinkers used to hang out. He also introduced me to some of my favorite people.

Always there for me... especially when I needed a laugh, put things in perspective, have an obscure, nonsensical conversation... or hatch a practically perfect scheme to get mutual friends (Pam and Till) to fall in love...

He sent my children an X-Files picture book that they instantly fell in love with... he requested that I write on the cover: “To Red Moon and Silver Wing, Keep looking at the stars. Especially the ones that move.- Mike” (He even framed and hung my kids’ artwork up in his home.)

I’m going to miss my dear friend... Especially when I want to share any silly references to Catholicism, Ireland, theatre, Shakespeare or any sort of ridiculous pun.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal”

Mike Ludders was one of a kind, and I’m a better person for knowing him.

I have since looked at some old correspondence and found one email from 2006 in which Mike was moving and wished to throw a party like an Irish wake, he wrote:

“As at an Irish wake, there shall be silly music, laughter, unprintible things said, and strong whiskey to be drunk.

Also, the game of Kings. Which you don't see at many Irish wakes, but whatever.

Also, a hoola hoop. Just because...

Please wear a silly-ass hat.

And bring some munchies or some drinkies if you've got 'em”

In reviewing his email updates throughout the years, he wrote with pride and admiration about his brother, John. Even though I never asked for affirmations, he would write of how proud he was of me too, which reading now feels like a big, giant hug from Mike's lingering energy... 

Mike's Kinsale (the Irish pub that Mike turned into Sabres bar in Manhattan) crew remembers how Mike loved picking people up, physically and emotionally. <3 ... and racing friends around the block. He also introduced my cousin Suzanne to her now husband, Brian. He was a matchmaker!

I'm holding Mike's memory close to my heart and his memory does bring so much comfort (and laughs). Sending lots of love and hugs to you all.

I was saddened to learn of his passing. He was an energetic little boy who was curious about everything. He loved to wear his overalls and play play play. He loved his little brother and called him Dotie. He was friends with my son Eric and I was a friend to his mom Jane. Many fond memories, birthday parties, parks. When they moved east they all were missed. We visited them in New York and went to Niagara Falls. Heaven has a wonderful angel.

One time in September 2008 Mike was moving from NYC to Seattle by driving across the country When he rolled though Chicago I came down from Madison and we went to a Great Big Sea concert and to Kenyon Lords Football Team's only win of that season at the University of Chicago.  It was pouring rain but we sat next to S. Georgia Nugent which was hilarious. We ended up at sleeping on Jeff Gardner's couch and floor.  It was all a silly good time.

I was two years ahead of Mike at Kenyon, but was quickly wowed by him during MUN.  Confident and persuasive but not arrogant, knowledgeable and ambitious but not nerdy or overbearing, he was a genuine team player who truly wanted everyone to succeed.  He brought so much energy and enthusiasm to his passions, and gave his all to so much.  Mike was so perceptive, and was always ready to offer a shoulder to those in need.  He was an all-around incredible guy, an inspirational figure who brought out the best in others.  I lost touch with Mike a few years after college, though I'd wonder what he was up to.  This is such a sad loss to anyone who knew 'Husky.'   RIP, Mike.

He was pure personality and intensity. I’ll always remember how easily he made everyone laugh. 

Mike will be dearly missed. He was a great addition to any get together, he always upped the ante, and kept you on your toes. And most importantly, he's one of the people responsible for bringing us together. Thank you, Mike! Cheers!

Mike was my debate partner for several debate meets at Kenyon. I remember during one debate meet it was my 21st birthday. I had mentioned it at a MUN meeting beforehand but I didn't think anyone had remembered. Then on the long road trip down to the university where the debate meet was being held, both vans pulled off the road and parked at a gas station. I got out and there was Mike holding a big birthday cake that said "Happy Birthday Phoebe!" He was grinning and everyone was gathered around him singing "Happy Birthday" to me :-) He had arranged the entire surprise party for me!!! It was awesome! 

Dear John,   Our sincere condolences on the loss of your brother. May the loving memories of Mike bring you peace and comfort.

I recall some kind of welcome dinner in Pierce, possibly during orientation.  Ludders was at my table, and although I was a little trepidatious as an embarking first-year, I remember a distinct sense of reassurance in his company... A growing realization that I'd picked my place correctly, and would be able to thrive over the next four years among my kind of merry weirdos and fellow-travelers.

He had such an open-hearted presence; a joviality that brought warmth to many. It was significant enough to me that I recalled and thanked him for that first moment during senior week, at a celebratory evening at the Cove. It felt corny to indulge my pre-nostalgia at the time, but important.  I'm so glad I had the opportunity. 

My deepest condolences to his family and beloved friends.  

'Grace' is not a word I would use to describe how Mike literally moved through the world.  I remember lots of boyhood shenanigans that often ended with something like a closet door broken, bodily injury to someone, or being punished for something stupid we did.  I remember lots of times with him, all of us together, making silly jokes, waving our hands about wildly, and the most silly and outrageous comments to be yelled at a movie, a Sabres game, video game, or show we would watch. 

Still, 'Grace' is exactly what I remember Mike giving to me and to others.  As a child it was easy to look to him for care, comfort, and guidance.  I truly felt cared for by him, and that is a remarkable thing to give to someone.

Everyone at Kenyon knew Mike. Not only for his strong vocal opinions and brilliant mind, but his goodhearted, overwhelming generosity. I remember his hugs and quick wit and his belief in me even when I didn't believe in myself. We were so lucky to have him in our midst. What a mensch. 

I am so saddened to hear this awful news. I worked with Mike on KCMUN and was teammates with him on the Debate Club, and I still remember the amazing energy, ambition, wit, and knowledge that he brought to everything that he did. I remember him working overtime as the head of KCMUN to secure the funds for our next conference, and sitting with him and the rest of the Model UN crew late into the night talking about anything and everything politics and history related. Although we only knew each other that one short academic year of ‘02 - ‘03, my time with Mike is part of some of my favorite and most cherished memories of Kenyon. I'm sorry to have lost touch with Mike for the last few years, and I'm devastated to learn about his passing. My thoughts go out to Mike’s family in this sad time and please know that Mike’s generosity and spirit has touched and positively impacted so, so many people and made the world a better, more positive way!